PROVIDENCE — The McKee administration included state-paid insurance coverage for state workers and Medicaid recipients seeking abortions in the first round of budget requests for state agencies that closed Friday.
A law to remove legal barriers to the coverage of state-funded abortion did not pass the last two sessions of the General Assembly.
But “reproductive freedom for all” became a defining issue for Gov. Dan McKee and his challengers in September’s Democratic primary, and advocates said lawmakers were reconvened in January. Sometimes vowed to renew its impetus.
Campaign trajectory:Ads roll out as abortion politics take center stage in RI gubernatorial and congressional elections
McKee spokesman Matt Scherf said on Friday that filings by the Department of Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services “will provide coverage for abortion-related services for state employees and individuals enrolled in Medicaid.” .
More specifically, the Administration requested $71,358 for state employee coverage and $375,462 for EOHHS for Medicaid insured persons.
“While the governor and his team are reviewing agency submissions to develop final proposals in January, budget submissions to the General Assembly will not include access to these critical health services to groups that are currently inaccessible. will include,” Sheaff said.
Alana O’Hare, a spokeswoman for McKee’s campaign, said, “Governor McKee not only protected women’s choice, he promised to strengthen that protection…
“Governor McKee has delivered on that promise again,” she said.
When Rhode Island’s non-executive legislature, which has been dormant since June, meets in 2023, it’s not clear whether the legislators who resisted passing the equality of the Abortion Security Act will pass.
‘State-funded abortion’ is controversial
The possibility of “state-funded abortion” remains highly controversial in some parts of Rhode Island.
Despite the passage of a bill in 2019 that enshrined the principles of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision into state law, “the fact that rights are still pushed beyond the reach of many people remains a challenge.” It remains,” said the advocacy group leading the 2022 push. January.
“If you have money, you can get abortion rights. If you don’t have money and can’t pay for it out of your own pocket, your rights aren’t real,” says the group known as The Womxn Project. Told.
Equally enthusiastic are those who oppose efforts to protect, maintain and expand abortion rights in Rhode Island.
Last year’s hearings were flooded with comments against “use,” including from the Rhode Island Catholic Convention, the most Catholic state in the country. [of] Pay taxpayers money for the undesirable practice of abortion that ends the life of an unborn baby. ”
In a new TV ad on Thursday and a press release on Friday, McKee’s campaign sought to draw a clear line between the governor and his Republican challenger, Ashley Karus.
“Unlike opponents who reject a budget that includes the EACA, Governor McKee stands by and fights for women in Rhode Island.
In fact, when asked if Kars would reject the state budget, which includes state funds to cover abortions, her spokesman, Matt Hanrahan, said: At the governor’s desk, they would have done it in the last session. ”
He said Karus was under the impression that 77% of Rhode Islanders don’t support taxpayer-funded abortions.
A poll conducted Aug. 5-11 for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its Southern New England chapter found that 72% of 603 registered Rhode Island voters have Medicaid or health insurance through the state. found that Rhode Islanders who are members of . Services as insured by a private health insurance company. ”
Two-thirds supported removing state restrictions on abortion coverage for state employees and Medicaid recipients.